Cassidy Hartman & Krysten Faehnrich – Co-Owners, Bubbles & Brews ND
Cassidy Hartman and Krysten Faehnrich began Bubbles & Brews ND without much more than a 1983 Piaggio Ape and a dream. Having been fully operational since September of 2021, they’ve expanded their high-quality craft beverage bar to cater to graduation parties, weddings and much more. Hartman and Faehnrich are an inspiration to many for good reason. As they offer to travel ANYWHERE in North Dakota to cater an event and earn a new customer, they’re determined to maintain the customer-oriented focus they pride themselves on.
What does Bubbles & Brews ND do?
Bubbles and Brews ND provides a mobile bar service to our clients and their guests. Our 1983 Vintage Piaggio Ape has seven taps and can serve anything from beer, wine, craft cocktails or mock-tails—the options are endless! We provide the mobile bar, cups, ice, mixes, garnishes and servers or equipment techs for an event, and take care of everything from set up to take down to ensure the event runs smoothly.
We offer customization options such as signage that attaches to the panels of the bar, personalized bar top menus, custom tap handles, drink toppers with company logos, signature cocktail recipes, personalized cups of all styles and beautiful décor to match every event theme. As a business, we do not buy or sell alcohol and in most cases, we operate as an open bar for our clients’ guests. Our clients book our service and then purchase the alcohol directly from a retailer, distributor, or venue. This process allows us to promote and increase keg sales for other local businesses. All a client has to do is have the kegs ready for us when we arrive at the event, and we take it from there!
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you’re at today?
The journey of starting a business and being an entrepreneur can be very stressful, but it is so rewarding. Growing up watching Shark Tank, I had always admired other entrepreneurs and thought to myself, “what can I do to be like them?” It is surreal that together we were able to make our dream of starting our own business possible. However, blood, sweat and tears are absolutely part of the journey and it took a lot of hard work and determination in order to get here.
Krysten and I make such a great team and our relationship as friends and business partners is a huge part of why we have seen the success we have up to this point. We are respectful of each other’s opinions and trust each other to fulfill our responsibilities to the business. We also recognize that we each have different strengths that we bring to the table and it is important to lean on each other’s unique abilities.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever?
We will always remember the milestones that we were able to hit and celebrate together such as officially establishing our LLC, taking our first booking, receiving our first check, serving our first event, winning the Mandan Business Pitch Challenge and so many other small wins along the way. Still one of our favorite things about our business is being able to see someone’s face and excitement the first time they see our mobile bar in action.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start Bubbles & Brews ND?
The hardest was having the confidence in ourselves to pull the trigger and start investing our time, money, and energy into the business. We are both young, strong women with a lot of work ethic, passion and motivation; however, no one wants their business to fail and there are certain risks in any start-up adventure, especially when you are investing your own hard-earned and saved up dollars. When negative thoughts or doubts start to creep in, it causes hesitation. You start to think, “What if people don’t like my idea?”, “What if I don’t make any money?”, “Am I wasting my time?” and those thoughts can keep a person up at night! Taking the leap to start our business took a lot of careful planning, research, thought and consideration, but once we decided to take the leap, we were all in and it has been such a rewarding experience.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning Bubbles & Brews?
Our business and LLC were officially established in May 2021 and we were not fully operational with our mobile bar until September 2021, so there was a lot of planning, marketing and learning that went into those first few months. We spent many evenings and weekends developing and revising our marketing and business plans, establishing our social media platforms, growing our audience, telling other local businesses about our business and just trying to set ourselves up for success when our mobile bar was ready to hit the market. We had to start selling our product before it was even finished, which means we were incurring costs and making investments before we could start generating revenue. This is why it was so important to start marketing our services so that we could hit the ground running as soon as our bar was ready to go.
In July, we started to tell the public about our business and we truly received an immediate response. Many local news channels, publications and radio shows reached out to us to do stories on our new business and it was very rewarding to have so many people that were excited to hear about Bubbles and Brews ND. During that time we also had to navigate getting our Piaggio Ape vehicle shipped from Italy so that we could start refurbishing it. Getting the little truck from Italy was no easy task during COVID, but after a few delays, we got it here in one piece! There was so much time and effort that went into the first few months of our business, but the real fun started once we were operational and starting to serve at events in Bismarck and Mandan!
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now?
Had we known the response we would receive about Bubbles and Brews ND coming to North Dakota, we probably would have started it sooner! It would have been nice to have been operational as of June or July in 2021 so that we could take full advantage of the nice weather and event season. Originally we thought we would be ready to start serving in August 2021, but COVID and shipping delays from Italy pushed us back a bit. The event season is naturally a bit slower during the winter in North Dakota, but we still were able to serve at events from September 2021 to February 2022 because of our small size and ability to fit indoors. This year our calendar is already filling up for the event season and we are so excited to get out there and celebrate with everyone. All in all, we are very proud of ourselves and how our first full year of business is going.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap?
We are always trying to encourage other entrepreneurs on their journey to starting a business that they believe in. Don’t let those negative voices fill your mind and overwhelm the good. It is important to ask for help and surround yourself with people who support you and want to see you succeed. There will be people who don’t understand what you are trying to do or simply won’t clap when they see you succeed and you shouldn’t give those people the power to break your spirit. If you have a passion for something do your research, make a plan and take steps towards achieving that plan… and don’t forget to celebrate the wins no matter how small they might be.
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk?
The risk part of starting a business is scary and no crystal ball will tell you if you will succeed or not. It can cause stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and everything in between. I found it important to pray about it whenever I felt challenged or unsure of myself. We spent almost every day brainstorming ideas, overcoming challenges and strategizing things that we could do to set ourselves up for success. The key was to work hard and give each other encouragement to keep pushing forward.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business?
Mandan is home to both my business partner and I. Both of our families live in the area and we feel that Bismarck-Mandan is such a great community. Our husbands are also both hunting and fishing fanatics and it really is a great area to live when those activities are your passion. We couldn’t see ourselves living anywhere else; therefore, we wanted to start a business that would allow us to provide a new experience to everyone in the community.
We wanted to do something unique that would allow us to participate in local events and help other businesses celebrate their success as well. With that, Bubbles and Brews ND came to life. Overall, we are passionate about serving our community and we are proud that we were able to start this unique mobile bar service in Bismarck-Mandan.
What do most people not know about Bubbles & Brews ND?
When people first hear about Bubbles and Brews ND or see our mobile bar out and about or on social media, their first reaction is usually, “This is so cool! How does it work?!”. Our business model is not very common in North Dakota so we are always ready to get into the details of how it works. One key point is that we do not drive our mobile bar down the streets, it is trailered to and from events in an enclosed trailer and then set up as a stationary pop-up mobile bar at the event.
Secondly, we do not buy or sell alcohol and the price of alcohol is not included in our event packages. Our clients are often planning on providing an open bar to their guests for their event, so they call us for a unique and unforgettable way to serve the alcohol at their event rather than putting cans and bottles on ice in a cooler. Our clients still purchase their alcohol from their venue if required, or from a retailer or distributor. Then we show up and take it from there! This is one of the key ways that we are able to be “mobile” and travel to towns to serve at events across the state.
What is something you wish more people knew about your company?
We love telling everyone about the history of the Piaggio Ape. Our mobile bar is a vintage 1983 Piaggio Ape from Italy and it had about 55,000 miles on it before we converted it to a mobile bar! It is such a unique vehicle and it is very fun to drive, it even has a horn, blinkers and windshield wipers! We also want everyone to know that we can serve at almost any type of event, indoors or outdoors year-round!
What is a day in your life like for you now?
Don’t you mean “what is a night in your life like?” ;). Having a business in the event industry means that we are often working nights and weekends, which can be a lot of fun. We put a lot of work into planning the events. This involves finding the right décor, ordering supplies, helping our clients estimate their drink needs, testing recipes, designing custom signage, working with other venues and vendors involved at the event and so much more!
Then we get to the actual event, set up the bar, make sure everything is pouring properly and serve drinks on tap for everyone to enjoy! On the non-event days, we are managing incoming leads, creating social media content, and promoting our services wherever and whenever we can! We have busy days and nights, but the work that we get to do and the fact that it is our own makes it all worthwhile.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?
We love when we see other businesses following our Facebook and Instagram pages @bubblesandbrewsnd and comment, like or engage in our content. The best way people can easily support us is by following along on our journey and spreading the word about who we are and what we do. We hope to add a valued experience to events in the community through our services and it is so encouraging to be supported and cheered on by other businesses.
Are you looking to expand your business? If so, how?
Yes, we are hoping to grow and expand Bubbles and Brews ND over the coming years. We are still early on in our start-up business journey, but we are already finding ways to add more services and reach different target markets within our business. Right now we only have one mobile bar, but in the future, we would like to have more! We actively track our leads and inquiries and we use that data to see how many events we need to turn down due to already being booked.
Should we see a demand in the market for another mobile bar, we would love to add another Piaggio Ape to our fleet. We currently can and will travel anywhere in North Dakota with our mobile bar services, but there also might be an opportunity to expand to the surrounding states as well. As we grow, we will continue to add to our event staff and we are excited to be able to add more faces to the Brew Crew!